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TITLE NO.

74-19

Tests to Establish Concrete Pumpability

By ROGER D. BROWNE and PHILLIP B. BAMFORTH

This paper describes test methods developed for tion was available concerning the proportioning
examining the pumping characteristics of concrete and testing of concrete mixes for pumping.
which have aided the range of studies undertaken Over the last 8 years a number of investigations
on pumped concrete over the last 8 years.
Details are given of the basic state of the con- were carried out into the basic mechanisms of
crete in the pipeline, from which is established the concrete pumping both theoretically and by ob-
importance of impermeability of the material in servation in the laboratory and on site pipelines.3.4
minimizing pipe blockage. A practical test method It was during these investigations that test meth-
for this property, simulating the pressurized state
of concrete in a pipeline, is described, together with
ods for pumpability were considered.
test results from pumping trials on a number of This paper briefly summarizes the understand-
concrete mixes. ing developed of the basic state of concrete in a
Viscometric methods are also briefly mentioned pipeline and the mechanics of concrete pumping
in relation to the laboratory measurement of flow
in relation to the following three test methods
resistance.
The void meter test is described and its value for measuring the pumpability of fresh concrete:
as a mix proportioning tool is considered in rela- 1. The pressure bleed test to measure the in-
tion to the optimization of cement contents. ternal resistance of concrete to "dewatering;" this
Finally, the details and results from instrumen- was found to be a major cause of blockages.
tation of pipelines to observe pumping pressure
variations are presented and conclusions are given 2. The voids measurement of the total aggre-
related to pump performance and concrete charac- gates as an aid to mix proportioning of pumpable
teristics. concretes.
Keywords: concretes; field tests; fresh concretes; mix pro-
portioning; permeability; pumped concrete; pumping; pumps;
test equipment; tests; voids; water; water-cement ratio; work- ACI member Roger D. Browne, is a char-
ability. tered civil engineer and head of the Re-
search Laboratories of Taylor Woodrow
Construction Ltd., Southall, England. He
• IN RECENT YEARS CONCRETE PUMPING systems received his PhD in the field of high altitude
aerial photography and his diploma in
have been increasingly used in an attempt to in- photogrammetry at University College, Lon-
crease the speed of construction. This has been don, in 1959. Since that time, he has in-
vestigated many aspects of concrete tech-
particularly influenced by the development of nology in relation to the development of concrete pressure
mobile and truck mounted pumps fitted with tele- vessels for nuclear power stations and offshore structures,
as well as more conventional constructions.
scopic booms, which provide a completely inde- Dr. Browne has coauthored publications on the long term
pendent and flexible means of concrete placement. properties of concrete at normal and elevated temperatures,
resin concretes, high pressure water jet cutting of concrete,
Although concrete has been pumped success- large concrete placements, admixtures, strength in situ, and
fully for many years, variations in aggregates, marine durability of concrete.
hatching, and mixing can still make it difficult to Phillip B. Bamforth is at present a research
guarantee completely trouble-free concrete on engineer with Taylor Woodrow Construction
Ltd., Southall. England. He received his BSc
every occasion. The blocking of concrete in a pipe, in civil engineering from Leeds University in
therefore, may still present problems due to the 1970 and since that time has been involved
in the investigation of various aspects of
disturbance that such a condition can cause to concrete technology including pumping,
smooth and efficient site operation. early age behavior of mass placements, and
creep in relation to prestressed concrete
At the start of the present investigation in 1967, pressure vessels. He has coauthored publications on the
it was found that although various workers, such performance of concrete pressure vessels and effect of
cement replacement materials on the early age behavior of
as Ede 1 and Weber,~ had examined the behavior of Ia rge placements.
concrete in the pipeline, little practical informa-

ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977 193


the lubricating layer to zero at the pipe wall as
shown in Fig. 1.

FLOW RESISTANCE
Degree of saturation
The resistance to the flow of concrete in a pipe-
line is thought to be a combination of hydraulic
shearing of the lubricating layer and friction of the
solid particles in contact with the pipe wall. The
extent to which frictional resistance is effective,
however, depends greatly on the state of satura-
tion of the concrete.
LUBRICATING LAVER When concrete is in a saturated state (i.e., when
there is sufficient water in the mix to overfill the
voids of the dry materials) the magnitude of fric-
tional resistance is negligible compared with that
VELOCITY found when the concrete is in an unsaturated state.
PROFILE This effect was clearly shown by Ede 1 who
measured the flow resistance of a single concrete
with a varying water-cement ratio; the results are
PLUG
presented in Fig. 2. It will be seen that, as the
water-cement ratio and hence the workability was
Fig. 1-Piug flow reduced, the flow resistance increased and there
was a critical level of water-cement ratio, in this
3. The measurement of concrete pressure in a case 0.45, below which the frictional resistance in-
pipeline to give information on the efficiency of creased dramatically.
the pump and also the performance and pumping The sudden increase in flow resistance may be
characteristics of the concrete. attributed to the change from the saturated to
Much of the material in this paper is based on the unsaturated condition.
an investigation carried out for the Construction The pressure distribution down a pipeline for
Industry Research and Information Association, the saturated and unsaturated states may be ex-
and it is given here with CIRIA's permission. pressed as follows:
STATE OF CONCRETE IN THE PIPELINE
Saturated (hydraulic) flow 1•2-Under saturated
conditions the pressure loss in the pipeline has
Development been observed to be linear,l· 2 and the pressure at
Although direct observation of the internal be- any point in the line can be defined by the simple
havior of concrete while flowing under pressure expression:
through a pipeline has proved impossible, the
theoretical and experimental studies undertaken p =p 0 _ 4Rx
D (1)
on the pressurized state of fresh concrete and
measurements made of pressures at the pump and where
the pipe wall, together with observations of the P pressure in the pipeline at a distance x
state of the concrete at the end of the line, have from the pump (under saturated con-
provided the following understanding of the state ditions, axial = radial pressure)
of concrete in a pipeline. Pn pressure at the pump end of the line
(i.e., when x = 0)
Plug flow D internal pipe diameter
Concrete flows in a pipeline in the form of a R = flow resistance/unit area of pipe
plug separated from the pipe by a lubricating
layer of water, cement, and fine sand particles. The derivation of Eq. (1) is included in Appendix
The plug consists of aggregate, sand, and cement A.
particles separated by a continuous water layer The flow resistance has been shown to be made
which is hydraulically linked to the lubricating up of two separate components, the adhesion re-
layer. The velocity is constant across the width of sistance A, which exists even when the concrete is
the plug, i.e., there is no relative velocity between stationary, and a factor related to the velocity V
the aggregate particles, and drops rapidly across of flow in the pipeline and is given by the equation

194 ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977


R=A+KV• (2) permeability to the flow of its own mix water, and
also that this property is maintained.
where K and n are constants for a particular con-
crete and are related to the mix proportions and
Flow velocity
workability.
The term R was introduced by the authors to As described earlier, the resistance to flow in
overcome the problems of defining values of A, the hydraulic state is also affected by the concrete
K, and n and is generally defined in relation to velocity through the pipeline and to a lesser extent
the concrete velocity as described later. by the concrete workability. Results of site tests
Unsaturated (fractional) state 1-When concrete indicated an approximately linear Newtonian re-
is pumped in an unsaturated state, the pressure lationship between flow resistance and concrete
loss down the line is no longer linear, but has velocity as shown in Fig. 3. The results are plotted
been found to follow a more complex exponential to show concrete transport velocity V 1 against
relationship. The development of the general 3001r---------,----------.--------~
equation describing unsaturated flow is given in
the appendix. N
E
Under conditions of frictional flow the resistance ~
01
R is related to the radial pressure P,. in the con- .X

crete by the equation ""0


I '200
><
R =A+ f!Pr (3)
UJ
u
where z Unsaturated Saturated
<( Concrete Concrete
A = adhesion resistance (R =A when Pr = 0) I-
~
f! = coefficient of friction between the con- If) 100
UJ
a:
crete and the pipe wall
~
The general term for flow resistance, however, 0
-'
IJ_
cannot be used in this case. Not only is the value
of R related directly to the radial pressure, but
also the relationship between the axial and radial o.Jo Q.40 o.so o.so
pressure varies with a change in pump pressure. WATER/CEMENT RATIO (by wt.)
The various factors, therefore, have to be consid-
ered separately. Fig. 2-Effect of water-cement ratio on flow resistance
for a given mix (Reference I) (I kgf/ em~ = 14.22 psi)
Distance pumpable
The theoretical relationships for saturated and -+- T.W.C. Data.
After EDE (Ref. 1 )
unsaturated flow may be used to demonstrate that &-----e After WEBER (Ref. 2)
a change in the state of the concrete can have a After ALEKSEEV(Ref 5)
dramatic effect on the length of pipeline through
which the concrete may be pumped.
Consider, for example, the maximum distance /
that saturated apd unsaturated concrete may be >
1--
u
/
pumped through a 10 em (4 in.) diameter pipeline
for a given pump pressure of 35 kgf/cm~ (500 psi).
0
_J
UJ
I
From the calculations included in the appendix
>
UJ
!/
it can be seen that for saturated flow the con- 1-
UJ
crete may be pumped through a distance of 250 m 0:
u
(820 ft) while in an unsaturated condition, this z
0
value is reduced to a mere 1.1 m (3.6 ft). This u
means that, if for any reason, more than 1.1 m of
concrete anywhere in the pipline became unsat-
urated, the pump pressure would be exceeded by
the pressure required to move the concrete, caus-
2 3
ing blocking.
Thus it can be seen that blockages may be FLOW RESISTANCE (x10-Jkgjcm 2 )
caused by "dewatering" of· the concrete over a
Fig. 3-Relationship between flow resistance and concrete
relatively short length of line. To avoid such oc- velocity (I kgf/cm~ = 14.22 psi: I em= 0.39 in.; I mm
currences it is essential that the concrete has a low = 0.039 in.)

ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977 195


Part·iclc Migration of Taylor ·woodrow data presented in Fig. 3, were
Mix Water
obtained by measuring the pressure drop down
a pipeline and converting the results to flow re-
sistance using the equation:

R _ (P1- P2) D
- L 4 (5)
where P1 and P2 are pressures· at two positions
along a pipe of internal diameter D, at a distance
High Frictional Resistance L apart.
Results obtained by Weber2 in a similar manner
Fig. 4--Dewatering of concrete in a pipeline using a laboratory piston rig, by Alekseev5 using
a rotary viscometer, and by Ede using a sliding
compression apparatus,! have also been included
in Fig. 3 for comparison with results obtained by
the authors. It will be seen that although in each
case different methods were used the results are
Dou blc Acting for practical purposes comparable.
Hydraulic Cylinder
The relationship obtained shows that:
1. The flow resistance can be reduced by using
higher slump concretes.
Calibrated 2. For a maximum pump pressure the maximum
Measuring Rod ---11
concrete velocity or pump output is limited by the
flow resistance/velocity relationship.
Top Cop

Summary
The above theoretical concepts have provided
a base for not only developing the dewatering
test described in the following section, but have
also enabled assessment of the value of various
parameters which affect the pumping process,
e.g., admixtures. There may be little value in
using a workability aid to improve the pumpability
of a mix which shows dewatering characteristics.
'o' Ring Bleed
Top The dewatering performance of a pumping mix

t
is not, however, the only factor for defining its
Measuring suitability. Even certain saturated mixes can re-
Bose Cylinder sult in a high flow resistance with too great a
50 Mesh Gauze demand for pumping pressure and can induce
Gauze Retainin severe pump and pipeline wear. Such mixes tend
Plate. to have a high proportion of fine material in the
form of either fine sand or a high cement content.
Fig. 5-Pressure bleed test apparatus (I mm = 0.039 in.) Thus to measure the pumpability of a concrete
mix, two parameters should be measured: (a) the
flow resistance R. The value of V 1 has been de-
permeability or dewatering characteristics, and
fined as follows:
(b) the flow resistance.
s In the United Kingdom for the range of con-
Vt=T cretes and concreting materials generally used, the
where flow resistance values appear not to require high
S = stroke length of the pump pumping pressures. With the more commonly
T = time for a single pressure stroke
occurring coarser aggregates, dewatering is more
likely to be a problem. This has meant that greater
If the piston and pipeline diameters (D 1 and D 2
emphasis has been attached to the development of
respectively) are not equal, however, the velocity
a means of measuring the dewatering characteris-
of flow in the line must be corrected for the
tics than to flow resistance.
change in cross section as follows:
However, it is considered that where necessary,
D1 ) 2
S the use of viscometric methods to measure the
Vt = ( D;- --ry- (4) shear resistance of the boundary layer paste would

196 ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977


be suitable. The authors feel that to obtain the
most realistic measurement the test should be
carried out if possible under pressure, to simulate
more closely the pressure state existing in a pipe-
line.

PRESSURE BLEED TEST


Background
It has been shown previously that to pump con-
crete through any appreciable distance, the con-
crete must be in a consistently saturated state.
However, certain concretes (especially those with
low fines contents), even though they are intro-
duced into the pump in a saturated state, are
rapidly transformed into the unsaturated state by Fig. 6-Pressure bleed test in operation
"dewatering" under the severe pressure gradients
which exist in the pipeline, particularly at tapers The top cap is then locked on and, with the
and bends, and blockages occur a:s shown in Fig. 4. bleed tap closed, the concrete is subjected to a
To avoid dewatering, therefore, the concrete pressure of 35 kgf/cm 2 (500 psi). The bleed tap is
itself must offer internal resistance to the flow then opened and the quantity of water emitted is
of mix water while under pressure. The pressure measured at specific time intervals while main-
bleed test is a static test designed to simulate the taining the pressure on the concrete.
state of concrete under pressure in a pipeline, in
which the dewatering characteristics of concrete Interpretation of results
can be measured. A sample of concrete is com- A concrete which dewaters quickly under pres-
pressed in a section of pipeline and the mix water sure will be prone to blocking in a pipeline; the
allowed to drain out under a sustained pressure. rate of dewatering is measured by the pressure
bleed test. The water emitted is measured against
Apparatus
time, some typical results being illustrated in Fig.
The bleed test apparatus is illustrated in Fig. 5 7 for pumpable and nonpumpable concretes. The
and 6, and consists essentially of a 12.5 em (5 in.) volume of water emitted in the first 10 sec is
diameter cylinder with a detachable top cap and designated V 10 and the total volume emitted in the
base. The top cap houses a piston which runs on first 140 sec is designated v140· It has been found
two rubber "0" rings and is attached to the in practice that for concretes of any slump, the
plunger of a double acting hydraulic jack. The jack volume of water emitted after the first 140 sec is
is screwed into the top of the piston housing and small and the test is not continued beyond this
hence a force can be applied to the piston through time. The water remaining in the concrete after
the top cap. The jack is operated from a hand this time exists in the voids between the com-
pump with a four-way valve, allowing the piston pressed particles. Under laboratory conditions
to be moved in two directions. The travel of the
piston enables the rapid removal of the compressed
concrete plug after the test. WATER EMITTED

The base has a bleed hole drilled into the side 120
and a tap has been inserted. The inside of the PUM~ABLE-
bleed hole is covered by a 50 mesh wire gauze 6 100 r\\
to prevent blockages in the tap.

Procedure
Having locked on the base plate, the cylinder is
filled with concrete to a level about 1.5 em (0.6
..
~
c:
0
u

0 4
0
>
5

..,
~

E 60
.:!
80
v10
!
j~l7
4
·'/7
v
~
---
~ ~-+ --- ~·-
BORDERLINE p. s
NON-PUMPABLE

in.) from the top of the cylinder. This is equivalent


~3
;;e 40
. ~1
-
to a sample volume of approximately 1700 cm3
(109 cu in.). The concrete is placed in two equal 20
VA
[t i
layers each of which is lightly tamped to insure ~
that the cylinder is filled. It is not necessary to 0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
fully compact the concrete as this state may not in
TIME (seconds)
fact occur when concrete is fed into a pump cylin-
der. Fig. 7-Typical bleed test results (I cm3 = 0.0593 in. 3 )

ACJ JOURNAL/ MAY 1977 197


where the initial water content of the mix is For use with a wider range of materials, further
known, the residual water can be used as a calibration tests may be necessary.
measure of the compressed void content of the
solid particle system. VOID MEASUREMENT
A concrete which is prone to dewatering will Background
emit water quickly during the first 10 sec and
hence the value of v1411- VIO should be small; The permeability of fresh concrete is a major
larger values of V1411 - V 10 therefore indicate the factor in defining its pumpability; the pressure
more pumpable concretes, i.e., those which retain bleed test is a practical method for measuring
the interparticle water more efficiently. this property indirectly. Further, the permeability
From the tests undertaken using concrete with is related to the porosity of the concrete, i.e., the
20 mm aggregate, minimum permissible values of void content of the solid particle system, and if
VHo- vlO were quantified for different levels of this can be minimized the proneness to dewater-
workability according to the relationship shown ing will also be reduced.
in Fig. 8.
Thus, from the limited tests carried out so far, Apparatus
it would appear feasible to determine whether or An apparatus for measuring the voids content
not a concrete may be prone to blocking in a of dry materials with continuous voids was de-
pipeline, by adopting the following procedure: veloped by Kempster, 6 and is illustrated in Fig. 9.
1. Measure V 10 and Vt4o· The method is based on measuring the head of
2. Calculate V14n - V10. water which can be supported by a partial vacuum
3. Measure the slump of the concrete. created within the aggregate.
4. For the measured slump, read off the mini-
mum acceptable value of V14 n - V10 from Fig. 8. Procedure
If the measured value of V 140 - V 111 is greater The material to be examined is placed into the
than the minimum acceptable value then the sample jar in four equal layers up to a level 3.5
concrete should pump successfully. em (1.5 in.) below the top of the jar. Each layer
If Vl4o- V10 is less than the minimum value, is hand compacted using a weight supplied with
then modification of the mix will be necessary. the apparatus which also acts as a spacer used to
It should be noted, however, that the pressure determine when the jar has been filled to the
bleed test is not designed in its present form to required level. The airtight lid is then screwed
indicate the magnitude of flow resistance of con- down on top of the jar with the tap open.
crete in either the saturated or unsaturated state. With the reservoir in Position 1, the water level
in the measuring tube is brought to a predeter-
mined level by adjusting the water level in the
• Pumpablc
<t Border! inc
15 o Non-pumpablc --+Gh*-''~<-"""'~

RESERVOIR
POSITION 2.

0 50 100 150
WATER EMITTED (V 140 -V 10 >ccm 3 )

Fig. a-Interpretation of bleed test results (I em = 0.39


in.; I cm3 = 0.0593 in.3 ) Fig. 9-Void measuring apparatus (Reference 6)

198 ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977


reservoir. The tap is closed and the apparatus is
now set up as shown in Fig. 9.
To measure the voids in the sample, the res-
ervoir is lowered to Position 2, creating a pressure
head in the measuring tube. The water level is
allowed to settle to an equilibrium position, the ..
E
head of water in the measuring tube being sup- :I
0
ported by the partial vacuum created in the >
sample. The head which can be sustained is in- .:.<
:I
versely related to the volume of air in the sealed .Q

system and the void content of the sample can be


read directly from the previously calibrated scale.
-0

~
Some typical values of void content for com- 1-
bined aggregate sand and cement are illustrated z
11.1
in Fig. 10. 1-
z
0 0
Application u
CEMENT("/. by wt.of total solids)
As well as measuring the void content of the c
combined solids including cement, it is also useful 0
>
to measure the voids within the aggregate system
alone. By combining the aggregates in such a way
as to produce a minimum voids content, it follows
that to fill these voids a minimum cement content
will be required to produce a concrete which is
sufficiently impermeable for pumping.
Fig. 10 shows the typical effect of varying the
sand content on the voids in the combined aggre-
gate and also the increase in the voids of the total SAND ("/.by wt of total aggregate)

solid particle system when the cement content is Fig. I0-Typical values of void content
increased above an optimum value.
The void meter has been found to be a useful 3No.25mm DIA.STEEL
RESTRAINING BARS
tool for the assessment of aggregates for pump LUMINIUM SHEETING

mixes, and can 'also be used to measure the effec- STEEL


tiveness of alternative void filling materials such COLLAR

as fine sand or cement substitutes, such as pul-


verized fuel ash or ground granulated blast fur-
nace slag.

IN-LINE PRESSURE MEASUREMENT


With the rapid increase in the use of pumps in
recent years, the necessity has arisen for advanced VERMICULITE
THERMAL
methods of mix proportioning and also a higher INSULATION

degree of control over both ready-mixed and site- -4 PAIRS OF ACTIVE ELECTRICAL
RESISTANCE STRAIN GAUGES
hatched concrete. AT 90° INTERVALS (HOOP AND
0 POWER SUPPLY
AND STF\AIN REC.ORDER.
LONGITUDINAL DIRECTION).

Technique
Fig. 11-Details of instrumented pipeline (I mm = 0.039
A method has been developed whi~h may be in.)
used in the laboratory or on site to record in-
directly the pressure of concrete in a pipeline and A strip ~hart pen recorder was used to monitor
thus give an indication of both the pumpability the results, allowing adjustment of the chart speed
and variability of concrete while being pumped. and enabling instantaneous observation of the
The method consists of measuring the line pressure data.
continuously by the strain developed in the short A typical pressure trace is illustrated in Fig. 12,
section of calibrated pipeline. The results are re- showing results obtained using a chart speed of
corded in terms of the voltage change from a 1 mm/sec (0.04 in./ sec). The advantage of having
bridge of electrical resistance strain gages mounted a continuous record of pipeline pressure is that the
on a reduced section of the pipe wall. A section of variability of the concrete may be observed
strain gaged pipe is illustrated in Fig. 11. throughout a pumping operation and immediate

ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977 199


N, 6 Chart Speed= lmm/scc.
E
.z 5
....tJI
UJ 4
a:
::::1
Vl
Vl 3
UJ
a:
D.
UJ 2
1-
UJ
a:
u
z I !
0
u
0

0 2 3
TIME (Minutes)
Fig. 12-Continuous pressure trace (I kgf I em~ = 14.22 psi; I mm = 0.039 in.)
action taken in the event of a tendency towards time" is taken up by the valve change time Tv,
a high pipeline pressure. and also the time taken for the piston to hit the
The recorder, when operated at a faster rate concrete, Tp. The latter part of the dead time Tp
(10 mm/sec) (0.4 in./ sec), provides a range of is related to the design of the cylinder inlet valve
more detailed information including pipeline (i.e., the filling efficiency of the cylinder), and
pressures, concrete velocity, and the efficiency of also the workability of the concrete.
the pump, which may be quantified and ulti- The filling efficiency can be defined by that pro-
mately used in the design of pumpable concretes portion of a piston stroke during which the piston
and improved pumping systems. is in contact with the concrete.
The time for a single piston stroke is (T c/2) -
Analysis of traces Tv; thus the filling efficiency can be defined by
The majority of work carried out in this field the equation:
has been mainly concerned with determination of
pipeline pressures.~ However, from a more detailed
analysis of the pressure traces it will be seen that
Efficiency= [ 1 - (Tc/ 2~P _ T, JX 100 percent
(6)
further useful information may be obtained related
particularly to concrete workability and also the For a particular pump, the value of TP will be
efficiency of the pumping system. A typical pres- directly related to the workability of the concrete,
sure trace obtained using the increased chart being defined by its ability to flow into the pump
speed is illustrated in Fig. 13. cylinder. This is illustrated more clearly in Fig.
The peak pressure P]J occurs when the piston 14. Thus by continuous recording of the pressure
hits the concrete in the cylinder and is the impact traces the variability of the concrete workability
and initial pressure required to move the concrete. may be indirectly observed.
The constant velocity pressure Pcu is the pressure A knowledge of the concrete velocity during
required to keep the concrete in motion. the pressure pulse is of value in investigating
During one cycle (i.e., the time taken for both pumping problems and the influence of, for ex-
pistons to complete one stroke), some of the time ample, admixtures on pumping performance.
is ineffective in moving the concrete. This "dead The transport velocity of concrete in the pipe-
_PEAURESSU~__(pp}_ _ _ line can be estimated using the following equation:

Concrete velocity V 1 = ( ~: ) ~ ( (Tc/ 2 ~ _Tv )


(7)
MEAN MINIMUM where
_,PRESSURE(f.d_.
ATMOSPHERIC
D1 piston diameter
D2 pipeline diameter
s length of piston stroke
T,/2 = half cycle time (i.e., the time for one
piston stroke)
Fig. 13-Analysis of a pressure pulse Tv valve change time

200 ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977


INCREASING WORKABILITY

j I

r - -r
.
I Tp
I

I I
i) POOR WORKABILITY ii)MEDIUM WORKABILITY iii)GOOD WORKABILITY
LOW FILLING EFFICIENCY INCREASED FILLING EFFICIENCY HIGH FILLING EFFICIENCY
LOW THROUGHPUT AVERAGE THROUGHPUT HIGH THROUGHPUT
HIGH FLOW RESISTANCE REDUCED FLOW RES I STANCE LOW FLOW RESISTANCE

Fig. 14-Effect of concrete workability on pumpability and pump efficiency

The value of (To/2) - T, is in fact the value T pumping system has been established which pro-
given in Eq. 4. vides at least a qualitative basis for understanding
Thus it can be seen that by close observation of problems in pumping.
the shape and dimensions of the pressure traces, 2. The pressure bleed test apparatus has been
information not only on pumping pressures but found to be a satisfactory laboratory and site
also the flow properties of the concrete and ef- method for measuring indirectly the permeability
ficiency of the pump may be obtained. of concrete for pumping and, as regards this fac-
tor, provides a method for controlling pump mixes
Application on site.
A number of tests have been carried out using 3. The void measuring apparatus may be used
strain-gaged pipelines. The original flow re- in the proportioning of economic pumpable con-
sistance/concrete velocity relationship illustrated cretes to minimize the cement requirement by ob-
in Fig. 3 was determined using this method and a taining a minimum voids content in the combined
series of pressure traces and associated values of aggregates.
throughput are illustrated in Fig. 15. 4. Recording of in-line pressure/time traces
Further tests have been carried out to measure provides a method for measuring the effectiveness
the effectiveness of additives and modifications to of different types of pumps and improvements to
the pumping system designed to reduce the pump- the pumping process, as well as observing varia-
ing pressure requirements. tions in materials and mix proportions.
The most recent series of tests has been carried 5. By use of the basic theory outlined, and the
out to measure the variability of site-mixed con- test methods described, pump, pipeline, and con-
crete. A strain-gaged pipe was inserted into a
fixed pipeline on site and readings taken on 2 0
three occasions for periods of up to 4 hr. A set
of traces showing the variation in workability is
shown in Fig. 14.
The strain-gaged pipeline has been found to be IIJ
a: 15
a useful tool in the assessment of the factors :::1
1/)
affecting the pumpability of concrete. Further- 1/)
IIJ
more, having overcome the major problems of in- a:
a..
strumentation the results can be used confidently
IIJ
to quantify the effectiveness of various methods of .....
IIJ
improving the pumpability of concrete by vari- a:
u
ation in mix proportions or ·the use of admix- z 5
0
tures. It is also useful as an instrument for quality u
control by continuous recording of pipeline pres-
sures and to assess t'he operating performance of
different types of pumps.
0 2 3 4
CONCLUSIONS Tf ME (Seconds)
1. A model for relating the state of concrete in
Fig .. IS..:_Pressure pulses for concrete placed at varying
the pipeline to the concrete mix components and rates (I kgf I em~ = 14.22 psi; I cu m = 35.3 cu ft)

ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977 201


.SAWJY/r£n ! IIYfJe!Jouc JfLOt...J

Fig. A-1-Saturated (hydraulic) flow Fig. A-2-Unsaturated (friction) flow

crete mix performance may be quantitatively es- Taylor Woodrow Research Laboratories, Southall, 1970,
tablished, particularly on site, which hitherto has 50 pp.
not been a practical proposition. 4. Loadwick, F., "Some Factors Affecting the Flow of
Concrete Through Pipelines," Proceedings, First Inter-
national Conference on Hydraulic Transport of Solids
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS in Pipes (Sept. 1970), (The British Hydromechanics
Research Association), Bedford, England, Paper D1, pp.
The authors wish to thank the directors of Taylor Dl-32.
Woodrow Construction Ltd., Southall, England, for al-
lowing the paper to be produced and permitting the 5. Alekseev, S. N., "On the Calculation of Resistance
inclusion of company information, and to the Construc- in Pipes of Concrete Pumps," Mekhanizatziya Stroi-
tion Industry Research and Information Association who tel'stva (Moscow), V. 9, No. 1, Jan. 1952, pp. 8-13 (in
partly financed the initial research program. The au- Russian). Translated as Library Communication No. 450,
thors are also indebted to the former and current per- Building Research Station, Garston-Watford, Apr. 1963.
sonnel in the Materials Laboratory of Taylor Woodrow 6. Kempster, E., "Measuring Void Content," Contract
Construction Ltd. for their contribution to the experi- Journal (Surrey), V. 229, Mar. 27, 1969, pp. 409-410.
mental, laboratory, and site work, and assistance in the
theoretical studies. In particular they would like to
express their appreciation of the efforts of Mr. A. APPENDIX
Flateau, Dr. J. Parkinson, and Mr. F. Loadwick, who
were directly involved in the project during their em-
Saturated or hydraulic flow
ployment in the laboratory. Consider an element of pipe of length d,, and diameter
D, as shown in Fig. A-1. The forces producing a con-
stant velocity V will be the pressure force opposed by
REFERENCES
the resistance to flow. The flow resistance R for hy-
1. Ede, A. N., "The Resistance of Concrete Pumped draulic flow is a function of the fluid properties and
Through Pipelines," Magazine of Concrete Research its velocity. Thus for a constant velocity, the flow re-
(London), V. 9, No. 27, Nov. 1957, pp. 129-140. sistance is constant with respect to pressure and length
2. Weber, Robert, Transport of Concrete by Pipeline of pipe for a particular fluid.
(Rohrforderung von Beton), Beton-Vertrage GmbH, Equating forces across the element for constant ve-
Dusseldorf, 1963. Translated as C&CA Library Trans- locity (i.e., constant volume flow rate):
lation No. 61.129, Cement and Concrete Association, .
London, 1968, 88 pp. D
p.,.T-
2
( dP
P +dx dx
).,.D2
- 4- = R ..Ddx
3. Browne, R. D., and Loadwick, F., "Mechanics of
Pumping Concrete," Research Report No. 014J/70/1450, (A-1)

202 ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977


dP TrD:! Now dx is small and second order quantities may be
. ·.RTrDdx =- dx dx 4 ignored thus:

. D dP D dP
.. R = - - - - - - = A + ILkP
4 dx 4 dx
Separating the variables and integrating over a length
Integrating over a length of pipeline x from the pump, of pipeline, x from the pump,

R
0
! "' -
dx- - D
-
4 Po
!P dP

:. Rx = - -D4 (P- P.) .". _1_[ log, (A


ILk
+
ILkP)
(A+ ~LkP.)
J= _ !.:__
D (A-6)
Rearranging,
4Rx =e
P=P.-D (A-2)
Re-arranging,
4~tkX A ( 4~tkX )
Unsaturated or friction flow P = P.e - D -- 1- e - D
ILk (A-7)
If the flow resistance is in some way dependent on
The maximum distance pumpable can be obtained by
the pressure in the concrete then the system is said to be
considering the distance x along the pipeline at which
in a friction state, and the element of pipe considered
the axial pressure P becomes zero.
is now as shown in Fig. A-2.
Now the total flow resistance is made up of two Thus, for saturated flow, when P = 0,
components: the frictional resistance RF, which is pro-
DP.
portional to the radial concrete pressure, and an ad- Xm.or =4R
hesive stress A, which is independent of concrete pres- (A-8)
sure. Consider, first, the component R,.. If the coefficient and for unsaturated flow, when P = 0,
of friction is IL and the radial pressure is PR, then
(A-3) Xma:z: == (A-9)
But Edel has shown that the radial pressure under un-
saturated conditions is not equal to the axial pressure Example
P, the ratio PR/P being given by the constant k. Thus
Eq. (A3) becomes For the example described previously, P. 35 kgf/ =
m2 (500 psi) and D =
10 em (4 in.). Typical values of
(A-4) the flow resistance parameters are as follows:
Saturated flow: R = 3.5 x 10-3 kgf/m2 (0.05 psi)
Consider now the adhesive stress A. Edel has expressed
a need for such a parameter since there is appreciable Unsaturated flow: t
frictional resistance in the pipeline even when the pres-
sure at the outlet is zero. Thus the total resistance to
A = 65 x lQ-3 kgf/m2 (0.92 psi)
flow can be expressed in the form J.l. = 0.38
k = 0.25
R=A+J.tkP (A-5)
Substituting values into Eq. (A-8) for saturated flow:
The average resistance over a pipe length dx is given by: (10 X lQ-2) X 35
Xmaz =
4 X ( 3.5 X 10 3 ) = 250m (820ft)
Substituting values into Eq. (A-9) for unsaturated
flow:

RAv = A + ILk ( P + -dx


dP -dx)
2 X., •., =- [
(10 X lQ-2)
4 X 0.38 X 0.25
J
Equating forces for constant flow velocity
loge
[
65 X lQ-3
(35 X 0.38 X 0.25) X (65 X 10-3 )
J
Tr ~T p _ ( p + :: dx) J = 1.1 m (3.6 ft)

= TrDdx [A + ILk ( p + :: ~x ) J In this particular example, therefore, a change in the


state of the concrete over a 1.1 m length of line from
the saturated to the unsaturated state would immedi-
dP ately result in a blockage, the pressure requirement ex-
D2 [ (
:. - dx dx '~~"T= TrDdx A+ ILk P + dP dx ) ]
dx 2 ceeding the capacity of the pump.

D dP
- - - =A+ILk
( dP dx)
P+ -- Received Dec. 3. 1975, and reviewed under l·nstitute publication
4dx dx2 policies.

ACI JOURNAL I MAY 1977 203